So I’m sitting here watching ‘Farscape’ and I can’t help but wonder:
What happens when we meet some alien species and they’re nothing like the ones in Science Fiction?
Star Wars and Star Trek have so permeated our culture that there is a certain sense of what aliens are like. We think that they will have universal translators, unspeakable technology, and civilized manners.
Or they’re like the extra terrestrials in ‘Independence Day’ and they just want to strip mine every planet they find.
What I like about ‘Farscape is its tendency to make fun of Sci Fi and its view of alien species, even to the point of the main character saying, “Boy…was Spielberg ever wrong.” He goes through a wormhole and ends up in the middle of an interstellar society governed by a ruthless military force.
So here’s the question for the week:
If you write aliens into your stories, what kind of aliens will they be?
Evil or good?
Humanoid or other?
Highly technological or primitive?
There are many different categories to choose from; all of them great.
1. Do some research
If you haven’t yet, you should go check out my guest post at Live Hacked. It has lots of cool stuff about researching for Sci Fi writing. But the main point is that you actually do some research. In the quest for what alien life form to use, do some research. Watch some shows, and see what actual scientists think.
2. Write them plausibly
If the aliens in your book just happen to speak English, or whatever you’re writing in for that matter, I’m gonna call shenanigans. Aliens will not speak English. But if you explain a universal translator or have someone that speaks their language and English, I’ll probably buy it.
Also, aliens aren’t from Earth at all. They won’t act like humans. They will do weird things. Write them into your story.
3. Follow the leaders
I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we have no truly original ideas. Someone has always broken ground before us. So when you’re researching for your alien species (see step 1) make sure that you follow others’ examples. Unless the example you want to follow is lame. Then don’t do that. I once read a novel where the main characters were supposed to be super-intelligent humans with alien DNA. Therefore they could just magically do whatever they wanted. I mean anything. The male read a book on sword fighting then beat someone who had trained their whole life in the sport.
Lame excuse for writing.
But take the ‘Old Man’s War’ universe. Some alien races are friends with the humans, others are enemies. They all have evolved differently and are of different intellect levels. The humans are constantly trying to further their knowledge of each species so they can fight for survival.
Follow the leaders and see what works for your creation.
I hope some of these tips are helpful. Let me know.
I’m also hoping to get a short story collection in time for Christmas, so keep room open on your Kindle!